The Issue Is: Former Governor Jerry Brown


In the 171 years since California was admitted to the Union, few politicians have been more synonymous with the Golden State than Jerry Brown.

Over the course of five decades, Brown has served as the California Secretary of State (1971-1975), the Chair of the California Democratic Party (1989-1991), the Mayor of Oakland (1999-2007), the California Attorney General (2007-2011), and the state’s four-term Governor (1975-1983 and 2011-2019).

This week, Brown returns to The Issue Is for an extensive sit-down with Elex Michaelson, reflecting on that illustrious political career, while also discussing climate change, recall politics, the Biden administration, racial justice, and much more.



BACKGROUND: Friday, Caitlyn Jenner, the 71-year-old Olympian and transgender rights activist, officially threw her hat into the ring, announcing her run for California Governor in the potential recall election of Gavin Newsom. Jenner joins a trio of fellow Republican candidates who are looking to unseat Newsom in a potential recall: former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Congressman Doug Ose, and businessman John Cox, who faced off with Newsom during the 2018 campaign.

BROWN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Whenever you have a recall of a governor, which is really unique in my lifetime, it's only happened once, everybody and their brother is going to jump in… They all think, because this is an exciting moment, that they could get some exposure…. they won’t, for the most part. I think Caitlyn Jenner will get some, but at the end of the day, it'll come down to how people are feeling about the state and the stewardship of Governor Newsom… I think any fair minded analysis would say Newsom does not deserve to be recalled and I think he deserves to be reelected. So I don't want to get too far into whether Caitlyn Jenner could do this or not, because I don't think she's going to have the chance…"

RELATED: Former Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't believe Caitlyn Jenner will 'have a chance' in run against Newsom



BACKGROUND: This week, coinciding with Earthy Day, President Biden unveiled plans to cut US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, a goal which will see the US also doubling its investment in mitigation efforts around the globe, as well as pushing private companies to invest in more aggressive sustainability efforts of their own. In California, the Governor made environmental policy news of his own, announcing on Friday that the state would stop issuing new fracking permits by 2024, with a goal of phasing the practice out completely by 2045.

BROWN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think many scientists, most would agree that we have to get to zero oil extraction, or very close to it by 2045, but how you get there, between now and then, is a matter of judgment, prudence, economic incentives, really helping the people who could lose their job and the communities who will lose the tax revenue and all that… Look, it's coming. We have to get off of oil and gas and coal, certainly, and how we get off of that, that's the challenge for the President. It's also the challenge for the Governor. So it is a long range goal for the most part, and we'll see. I have to say, he's being very frank about it, this is very difficult, very difficult for anyone as Governor, so whether you're banning all the oil, or the small subset of fracking, or all of the other things which are many and varied that you’re going to have to say ‘no’ to while you try to invent other pathways of ‘yes’ to the cushion the blow… We are facing a transformation in our lives now is that it's going to take 30, 40, 50 years and it's going to require a tremendous amount of innovation, technical innovation, it’s going to require changes in the tax structure, and the job structure, and the way we conduct ourselves, we’ve got to cut down on the waste dramatically, change our forms of consumption while we keep a very, very excellent way of living… "



BACKGROUND: Last May, in anticipation of the 2020 election, Governor Brown told Elex Michaelson on The Issue Is that America needed a modern-day version of FDR, regardless of whether that progressive baton was claimed by then-President Trump or then-candidate Biden. As now-President Biden approaches his benchmark 100th day in office, Brown reflected on how he has done at meeting the call for progressivism in the White House.

BROWN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "He has elements, because we're not in a depression, and Biden is a very different character than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as I remember seeing movies of Roosevelt… He’s coming up with a big investment plan, infrastructure, building roads, he supports high speed rail, water projects. He wants to put America back to work, and that's what that's what Roosevelt was, he looked around, saw one third of America, ill-housed, ill-clothed, and ill-fed, and he started programs, he wasn't afraid of government, and neither was Joe Biden. So I'd say he's closely aligned to what I’d said back there in 2020…"

The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to

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